I got to the caves and I was so glad I did. What is it about dry caves that preserves wall painting so well and just hundreds of Buddha statues – pictures in the guide books do not do it justice. It is also on a hill, so you get an amazing view.
There were a lot of monkeys at the site. I am a bit scared of monkeys since one attacked FP in a temple in India and today I saw one attack this guy for the flowers he was carrying. It’s a shame because they are a draw with their babies and taking bananas off tourists etc. then it’s a tipping point or a hormonal day that makes them scary.
Increasing livestock production is a national priority. The Department of Animal Production & Health in Batticaloa District offers consultation and many drugs free of charge to large animals. Artificial insemination to improve breeding is offered at 50Rs. There is a chick hatchery at Salhrukondan.
Table 1:5 Source: District Livestock Population 2012: Dept. Animal Production & Health, Batticaloa.
|Neat Cattle||Buffalo||Goat||Pig||Poultry||Duck||Turkey||Guinea Fowl||Others||Sheep||Rabbits|
Issues, Challenges and Opportunities
Rearing Livestock and producing dairy related products has the potential to be increasingly profitable. However there are concerns. Two milk processing centres at Kaavathamunai and Sittaady are not functioning, neither is the hatchery, as they are waiting for a permit to bring chickens from India.
The total milk collection in Sri Lanka is nearly 650,000 litres per day. Batticaloa district produces 75-80,000 litres a day which is 15% of total production. Public aversion to fresh milk is not ideal from a public health viewpoint nor for increased sales.
From a government perspective a lack of education means that farmers do not look after their animals properly. Although treatment is free, many do not worm regularly and they allow the animals to become emaciated due to lack of appropriate minerals gained from good grazing.
In spite of a subsidy of 10,000 Rs. per 1 acre for farmers encouraging growth of good pasture, animals are left to wander inappropriately causing traffic accidents and other health hazards. In the summer they are left without access to appropriate water sources.
For some local farmers the issue is that they do not have enough money to feed their children therefore animal welfare is secondary.
Development Plan Focus
The on-going need to increase awareness among rural families of the nutritional value of fresh milk and milk products such as yogurt and curd, especially for children. This is already being undertaken by outreach workers, but needs to be enforced by all professionals with community access.
The identification and allocation, temporary or otherwise, of government department lands for communal grazing that are fenced and have an appropriate water source.
Support to inland farmers to ensure suitable water and good grass lands for cattle and increase the number of field staff so scattered families are not forgotten and education can be disseminated about other issues such as snake bites against animal livestock.
Other priorities identified by the Planning Department
Batticaloa District Development Plan DRAFT 2013